Int’l Dark Skies Symposium to be Hosted in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa, November 10/2023 (ENA) Ethiopia will host a major international symposium on dark skies and astronomical heritage next week.

The IAU386 (International Astronomical Union) Symposium on Dark Sky and Astronomical Heritage will take place from November 13-17, 2023 in Addis Ababa.

Organized under the theme “Dark Sky and Astronomical Heritage in Boosting Astro-tourism around the World,” the symposium will be the 4th International Astronomical Union (IAU) symposium held in Africa and the 2nd in Ethiopia. 

The symposium focuses on presenting research findings and sharing experiences to enhance the preservation and utilization of dark skies, discussing mechanisms for boosting astro-tourism worldwide, and exploring strategies for utilizing and investing in untapped dark sky areas around the world.

Space Science and Geospatial Institute (SSGI) Regional Partnership Lead Executive, Aleme Mammo told ENA that the symposium will bring together scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders from around the globe to discuss critical issues like dark sky preservation, astro-tourism development, light pollution mitigation, and protection of astronomical heritage sites.
In addition to the main symposium, there will be several side events including an African Planetarium Workshop, capacity building training sessions, and public lectures aimed at boosting interest in astronomy, it was learned.

According to Aleme, the symposium will drive policy recommendations and cooperation in these areas critical to the future of astronomy, it was learned.
Co-organizer and co-chair of the IAU386 symposium, Mirjana Povic, an astrophysicist who has been working with the Space Science and Geospatial Institute (SSGI) for the last seven years, noted that Ethiopia has immense potential for dark sky tourism.

Co-organizer and co-chair of the IAU386 symposium, Mirjana Povic, an astrophysicist who has been working with the Space Science and Geospatial Institute (SSGI) for the last seven years, noted that Ethiopia has immense potential for dark sky tourism.
 

“Ethiopia has huge potential for dark sky tourism, due to its dark skies, remote location, and rich cultural heritage,” she said.

The astrophysicist explained that “Ethiopia is well positioned to be a leader in dark sky tourism in Africa, given its two-thirds share of Africa’s high mountain plateaus, near the equator, with clear and dry skies for months.”

The country can develop its dark sky tourism industry by investing in dark sky certification programs, developing stargazing infrastructure, promoting astro-tourism, and partnering with local businesses in the space, she added.

Ethiopia’s remote geography and with over two-thirds of Africa’s high mountain plateaus and clear, dry conditions for stargazing most of the year, the nation is primed to be a leader in astro-tourism.

National parks like Semien Mountains and Bale Mountains offer exceptional dark sky viewing opportunities.

Ministry of Tourism Sales Manager, Bizualem Getu said the conference will benefit the country in many ways, including drawing lessons on how to develop dark sky tourism and approaches towards it.
 


“Apart from the sharing of experience, the symposium lends opportunity to showcase ancient Ethiopian astronomy, which was sophisticated and well-developed,” he stated.


More than 200 participants from around the world are expected to attend the symposium.

Ethiopian News Agency
2023